Indonesia Steps Up Patrols, Lashes Out at Abbott for ‘Sovereignty’ Statement

Asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran cry as Indonesian officers force them to leave the Australian vessel Hermia docked at Indah Kiat port in Merak, Indonesia's Banten province in this April 9, 2012 file photo. (Reuters Photo/Aulia Pratama)

Asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran cry as Indonesian officers force them to leave Australian vessel Hermia, docked at Indah Kiat port in Merak, in Indonesia’s Banten province on April 9, 2012. (Reuters Photo/Aulia Pratama)

Indonesia on Wednesday lashed out at Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in response to his statement that stopping asylum boats was a matter of Australian sovereignty.

Djoko Suyanto, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, said that Australia had violated Indonesian sovereignty and that the archipelago would step up its maritime patrols following Abbott’s Tuesday statement in Davos, Switzerland.

“The Australian government, under the leadership of PM Tonny Abbott, must also understand the meaning of the Republic of Indonesia’s sovereignty, which has been easily violated by the Australian Navy,” Djoko said in an email to journalists.

He said that the Australian Navy had violated Indonesia’s territory in sending asylum-seeker boats back into Indonesian waters.

Indonesia is a popular transit point for those fleeing to Australia from war-torn or poverty-stricken Middle Eastern and African nations and from Myanmar.

Indonesia-Australia cooperation on asylum seeker management has been suspended since last year in the wake of a diplomatic row between the two countries after a leaked report revealed that Australia, under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2009, had wiretapped the phone conversations of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his inner circle.

In Davos, Abbott insisted that Indonesia must come to understand Australia’s policy of turning back asylum boats in order to curb the flow of asylum seekers entering Australia, which was among his key promises in last year’s election.

“Stopping the boats is a matter of sovereignty and President Yudhoyono of all people ought to understand, does understand, just how seriously countries take their sovereignty,” Abbott told reporters in Davos. “So we will continue to do what we are entitled to do to secure our borders.”

Djoko responded: “Sending back asylum seekers who have already entered any country, including Australia, should be managed and taken care of by that country in accordance with the UN convention mandate.”

“Indonesia will keep stepping up maritime patrols in order to prevent similar incidents from happening,” he added.

  • Legowo

    Idiot Abbot need to get a lesson. No more diplomacy, sink aussie navy if they dare to violate Indonesia sovereignty.

    • Wong Little

      I have a better idea Legowo, just let those smugglers built special ports for to sail from every corner of southern indonesia and im sure they can send out more ships perday than aussie navy has at the moment. see how abbott will immediately stop his chest beating act

  • Frame

    Oh well….both countries are fully open and run by democratically elected governments . Wonder what china type of government would have said? Embarrassment and idiots in both countries with everlasting inflated ego higher than Everest, This is typical part of English speaking vs non English speaking countries through out the world trade off.

  • Samator Miftah

    I do agree with policy of the ministry for enhancing it’s maritim patrol which it reveals our firmness . don’t let other countries violate our sovereignty

    • billy

      indonesias maritime patrol is as good as useless, so who do you think you are kidding…..
      It will only make matters worse, and the one time indonesia goes too far it will end bad… the navy will be wiped out very quickly indeed!!!
      including the indonesian army, so a show of force is of no use!!
      Its called co operation !!! between 2 parts…

  • Steve “O”

    What would we do with 240 million prisoners if there was war?

  • billy

    you are correct …but these asylum seekers put themselves at such risk, knowingly…. they can die….
    Indonesia has no room for these people, it barely has room for the population that is here now… so more should be donr to stop these people from entering the country in the first place… this would correct the problem between aus-indo…
    A joint effort between aus- indo should be put into effect asp.. stop the asylum seekers from entering indonesia and they will not put anyone at risk, including themselves…
    australia offering to help with water problems in jakarta is no solution for improving things between the 2 countries… what is needed now is a joint effort of prevention!!!

    • Pelan2

      Give them residence in Papua, a lot of room over there..

  • blakep

    I think it was Teddy Roosevelt who once said the art of diplomacy is to speak softly and carry a big stick. Unfortunately something got lost in translation on the way to Jakarta and it was misread as bellow and blather loudly and carry a slightly broken pop mie fork. Marty seems to be the pin up boy for this theory – you almost feel embarrassed for him.

    • Pelan2

      In RI it is: “Speak softly and carry a big sack” Andi’s brother is following this….

  • blakep

    I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it. At various points in the past year I’ve read random chest-thumpers on here and elsewhere calling for war against Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Netherlands, Myanmar and Israel. Half the nuffies who are shouting the loudest likely don’t even know how to wash their own underwear. Ironically enough you’d think people who actually don’t “do” war all that well might be a little more modest – ah well.

  • Parajonda

    Typically inferior-minded Indonesian. Let me tell you, they have enough money to bribe our elite officials and bureoucrats, paying media to blackmail our country, and purchasing modern military equipments to violate our sovereignity without any hesitation . So, why doesn’t Australia just gather all of those money to provide houses, jobs, and schools for the refugees in Australia since those are what they are seeking instead of provoking its neighbour? Even the cost of turning-back-asylum-boats operation by the Australian navy can save many lives for several years. The problem is that Australia doesn’t want to bother that much and their concern to humanity is not as high as your expectation. Do you even realize why the refugees wan’t to risk their live crossing the ocean ? It is because they know that eventhough they could die in the ocean, it would be less suffering than dying in their own country. And our fellow Australians just simply say ‘Go home’.

    We have already accomodated too many refugees here if you don’t know yet. We have spent money for them, providing temporary house to stay, and it is all funded by our budget! I know it’s not as satisfying enough as what they can get in Australia, but at least we have already done our part. So please stop being an ignorant by saying that Indonesia do nothing in this problem.

  • Asri

    As the article advises,”Indonesia is a popular transit point for those fleeing to Australia’”. Indonesia has to be proactive in stopping the entry into Indonesia and not blame Australia, these boats the Australians are turning back are from Indonesia, maybe Indonesia should have a policy of turning back asylum seekers instead of turning a blind eye at the Indonesia low lifes that are making big money from this despicable practice.

    Stop blaming others Djoko Suyanto and fix the problem in Indonesia

  • Buzz man

    ‘He said that the Australian Navy had violated Indonesia’s territory in sending asylum-seeker boats back into Indonesian waters.’
    Lets get something straight, they are Indonesian registered boats, I don’t know of any country called “asylum seeker”, so Australia is refusing entry Indonesian ships that are carrying undeclared goods. This is normal, this is no infringement, if anyones sovereignty is being aggravated, its Australia.
    If the boats were bringing in contraband / undecalred tobacco / rice wine / pork meat, the same thing would happen and no-one would bat an eyelid.
    I don’t know how Indonesia expects to protect their border from a fleet of dinghies, barely have enough fuel to do local patrols and they can’t prevent illegal vessels exiting their waters.